Close Roll 14 Henry VI

[No date.]

ENROLMENT of articles addressed to the K. by the Irish council, viz.:

'Thies ben the articles of the message of Irelande.

[1] First, that it please oure sov{r}aigne lorde, graciously considerer how that his lande of Ireland is welnegh destrued, and inhabytyd with his enimyes and rebelx, in so moch, that þ{r} is not left in the nethir parties of the countees of Dyvelyn, Mith, Loueth, and Kildare, that yoynyn to gadyr, oute of the subjection of the saide enemyes and rebelx, scarisly xxx miles in lengthe and xx mile in brede ther, as a man may surely ride other go, in the saide countees, to answerre to the kynges writtes and to his commandements.

[2] Also, the countee of Catherlagh, in the south west partie of the citee of Dyvelyn, within this xxx yere, was oon of the keyes of the saide lande, mydway betweene the saide citee and the out parties, that is to say, the countees of Kilkenny and Tiperarie; and the province of Casshell, also is inhabityd with enemyes and rebelx, save the castels of Catherlagh and Tillagh; and within this lx yere þ{r} were in the saide countee of Cathirlagh, cxlviii castelx and pyles defensible, well voutyd, bataylled, and inhabityd, that now ben destrued and under the subjection of the saide enemyes.

[3] Also the countees of Kilkenny, Weisford, Waterford, Cork, Limerick, Tiperarie, and Kery, in the oud{r} parties of the said lande, ben so destrued and oppressed with enemyes and rebelx, that the fewe leige pepull dwellyn in thamn ben not sufficiaunt to vitaill the citees of Waterford, Cork, and Limeryk, the wich ben sette upon the see coste, neth{r} the walled towns of the said countees, þat is to say Kilkenny, Rosse, Weysford, Kynsale, Yoghill, Clonmell, Kilmahallok, Thomastown, Carryk, Fithard, Cashell, and many other, wherthrugh the said countees and walled townes ben in the poynt to be enfaymed, and namely, the citee of Waterford, to likelye desolacion of tham in shorte tyme, that God defend.

[4] Also the most cause of destruction of the saide out{r} most parties and counties is, because that the xxx yere the lieutenantz of the saide lande, and other governours of the same for the time beying, come nat ther, but it were for a sodan journay or an hostyng; nor have made no residence among the people ther, to pynyshe the rebels by the kynges lawes; and also anor{r} cause is, that the kyngs courtes, parlementz, and grete conseilles, have not been holden there this xxx yere, save oon parlement x yere ago at the town of Kilkenny, notwithstanding that the leige peple have payed yaire subsides and other grauntz duely, as thay oue to don, to the lieutenantz, and other goveruours of this said lande yat have ben for the tyme.

[5] Also the province of Ardmagh, that is in the north partie of this saide lande, comprehending v countees, and the province of Twme, in the north weste partie of the same lande, comprehending also v countees, ben enhabyted with enemyes and rebels, and yerely tributaries unto thaym, and under theyr subjection; saving the castles of Craffergus and Ardglasse, and some of the countee of Loueth, in the province of Ardmagh, and the walled townes of Galvy and Athenry, in the province of Twme; and were not holly visityd by lieutenantz, ne non of governors of the said lande this xl yere, but it were for acteyng, hosteyng, or a sodan journey.

[6] Also there as diverse writtes passe oute of ye eschequer of the said lande, for to compelle the kynges tenaunts, holdyngof hymn londes and tenements in chief, by knyghtes service, for to do yayre homage in the said eschequer, and that on thayre apparaunce is noman having power to receyve it, but thay ben charged to go into England to the kynges owen persone, to do thayre homage þ{r}; and inasmuch as the said tenants ben put ever more to so grete distresse and costes, in resistence of the malice of the kynges enemyes and rebels, that thay mowe not so do withoute destruction of thayre londes, by the said enimyes and rebels, in thayre absence; and there fore be putte to grete fynes yerely at the saide eschequer, for þ{r} respite of thayre said homages. That oure sowaigne lorde wolde, of his grace, graunte a sufficeaunt powere to the lieutenant, or gov{r}nour of the said lande for the time beying, for to take and recayve ever more homage of his saide tenants, withoute more travayle or costes, by ye consideration aforesaid, and that withouten any fee paying.

[7] Also as the kynges enimys, that is to say Scottes, Bretons, Spanyalx, and others many, with thayre shippes, barges, balyngers, and of vessels diverse, stuffyd with men of warre to grete nowmbre, and that as well in tyme of pese as of warre, come yerely upon the see by þ{e} costes of the saide lande, and also by the costes of Wales, Chestre, Lancastre, and take merchauntz and other liege peple div{r}se of Irelande, Wales, and Englonde, that cometh and goth betwene with thayre shippes, merchandises and other godes, to passynge nowmbyr, withoute thayre rawnsome; in grete hyndryng and likely undoyng of the saide lande, and of the countrayes foresaide; upon les that yere be remedie ordeyned there upon zerely, þ{t} it plese oure said sov{r}aigne lorde to ordeyne by the avise of his wise counseile þ{t} y{s} admirall of Englande, and his deputees, have specially in commandement to visite yerely, and namely in the somyr seson, the se by þ{e} costes of the saide lande, and of the parties aforesaide, in withstandyng of the malice of the said ennimyes, and salvacion of his trewe peple, ant that at þe saide lande, evermore, be covered both by see and by lande, under the same pees, and trewes by especiale worde, like as the roialme of Englande is.

[8] Also that it please our saide sov{r}aigne lorde graciously and tendirly to consider the mischiefs and maters aforesaide, þ{s} wich ben emynent to cause hasty destrucion of the saide lande; and that it plese hym, of his hie grace, to graunt licence to his peple here, that thay, withoute displesance of hym, mow desire his presence at this tyme into his saide lande, the which wold be principall remedie of all the myschiefs and maters abovesaide, and sov{r}aigne comforte of his peple, and fynale rebuke of thayre enimyes, that God graunte ham that to se in haste. And, in case that it be not plesying to his hie lordship to come hidyr as yet, and also, forasmoch, as it hath ben ofte tymes compleyned unto hym and his worthie counseill, of div{r}se, extorsions and non paiements, don to the liege peple here, by lieutenants and other gov{r}nours of the same lande efor this, by the wich the same lande is gretely fallen in declyne, that it plese oure said sov{r}aigne lorde of his grace hereupon, to ordeyne some gracious and hastie remedie; and also to comawnde the Lt, that now is, to repaire in haste, with sufficeance of gode and men, and that he se that the said lande be duely keppyd and gov{r}nyd during his terme; other else some other grete lorde of the kynge's blode, and such as the peple woll drede and be aferd of, with sufficeaunce also of gode and men, in such wise that he that shall come now be ev{r}more powerouse to pay the peple, holde his retenue, and do due execution of lawe, and punishe rebellion and other trespass at all times like as the case askes; and that he have specially in cowmaundement justely and duely to observe this; and that the saide lieutenante, or any other gov{r}nor comyng, fynde sufficeant surete to oure saide sov{r}aigne lorde to kepe his retenue here continuely during his terme, and also to performe the articles forsaide, and to be here before the begynyng of this somyr, or else the saide lande is like to be fynaly destrued.’


Betham, Const. Eng. & early parl. Ire., pp 360–5.


RCH; RIA, MS 12.D.16, p. 149; BL, Egerton MS 78, p. 28.


Stat. Ire. Hen. VI., p. 46.


{1} A full transcription of the Middle English text is provided in Betham, and reproduced here. RCH confirms that the original enrolment was written in English [Articulus, Anglico sermone scriptus, cui titulus "Thies ben' the articles of the message of Irelande"]. The calendared version in RCH is given in Latin. A translation of that Latin summary follows here for purposes of comparison:

'Articles, written in English, whose title is: 'These ben' the articles of the message of Irelande'; containing [the following] complaints:

[1] Concerning the desolation of Ire. by enemies and rebels;
[2] That lieutenants very seldom visit many parts of Ire.;
[3] That the K.'s tenants are compelled to cross to Eng. to do homage;
[4] That lieutenants do not pay their debts;
[5] That the sea around Ire. is left undefended [etc.] and seeking swift remedy, and especially, among other things, that the K. himself should come to Ire., or if not, then at least he should send a very great man as Lt, who should find sufficient sureties concerning the premises.'

The following abbreviations are used within in the text of CIRCLE

  • abp = archbishop [of]
  • BMV = beate Marie Virginis [of the Blessed Virgin Mary]
  • C. = chancellor [plural: chancellors]
  • co. = county (i.e. medieval shire: lower case ‘c’) [plural. cos.]
  • dcd = deceased
  • e. = earl of
  • Edw. = Edward (used when giving dates by regnal year)
  • Eng. = England
  • esq. = esquire [plural: esquires]
  • Ex. = exchequer
  • g.s. = great seal
  • Hen. = Henry
  • Ire. = Ireland
  • Jcr = justiciar [plural: justiciars]
  • JP = justice of the peace
  • K. = king
  • kt = knight
  • Lt = lieutenant
  • O.Carm. = Order of Carmelites
  • O.F.M. =  Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans)
  • O.P. = Order of Preachers (Dominicans)
  • Ric. = Richard (used when giving dates by regnal year)
  • s. = son
  • sen. = seneschal of
  • T. = treasurer [plural: treasurers]
  • w. = wife

This glossary is by no means comprehensive. Readers may also wish to consult standard references books such as Joseph Byrne, Byrne’s dictionary of local Irish History from the earliest times to c.1900 (Cork, 2004); P. G. Osborn, Osborn’s concise law dictionary, ed. Sheila Bone (London, 2001).


  • AN = Anglo-Norman
  • Ir. = Irish
  • Lat. = Latin
  • ME = Middle English
  • OED = Oxford English Dictionary





The right of patronage or presentation to a church benefice.

allocate, writ of

A writ authorizing allowance to be made by the officers of the Ex. of a specified amount: often this amount is to be off-set against the debts owed to the K. by the beneficiary.


A form of affinity proscribed in late medieval Ireland between the Irish and the English, whereby a man stood sponsor for a child at baptism; (also) gossipred.


Technical term for legal proceedings or various kinds. See mort d’ancestor, novel disseisin.

avener [Lat. avarius]

provider of oats, esp. for the household of the K. or his chief governor


Miscellaneous merchandise sold by weight.

bonnaght [Ir. buannacht]

The billeting of mercenaries or servants.


See tun.

certiorari, writ of

Letters close issued by the K. to his officers commanding them to supply information to him concerning a specified matter, normally by searching the records.


Property, goods, money: as opposed to real property (land).

dicker [Lat. dacra]

A measure of 10 hides.


Portion (one third) of a deceased husband’s estate which the law allows to his widow for her life.


The reversion of land to the lord of the fee to the crown on failure of heirs of the owner or on his outlawry.


A survey and valuation of property, esp. one made by royal inquisition.

falding [Ir. fallaing]

A kind of coarse woollen cloth produced in Ireland; the mantle or cloak made from the same.


A fixed annual rent payable to the K. by chartered boroughs.

fotmel [Lat. fotmellum]

A measure of lead.


Technical term: the action of writing out, for instance patent letters and charters; (also) the documents thus written out.


Technical term: the action of recording in the records of the K., esp. the registering of a deed, memorandum, recognizance; (also) the specific item or record thus enrolled.


A repository for the keeping of money. The ‘clerk of the hanaper in chancery’ was the chancery official responsible for the receipt of fines for the issue, engrossment and ensealing of writs, patents and charters issued by the chancery.

herberger [Lat. herbergerius, hospitator]

One sent on before to purvey lodgings for an army, a royal train (OED).

galangal [AN galyngale]

The aromatic rhizome of certain Asian plants of the genera Alpinia and Kaempferia, of the ginger family, used in cookery and herbal medicine; (also) any of these plants (OED).

generosus [Lat.]

Term designating social status: translated as ‘gentleman’.

king's widow [Lat. vidua regis]

The widow of a tenant in chief: so called because whe was not allowed to marry a second time without royal licence.

knights’ fees

Units of assessment of estates in land. Originally a single knight’s fee was the amount of land for which the military service of one knight (=knight service) was required by the crown. ‘Fee’ derives from the Latin feudum, which in other contexts translated as ‘fief’. In practice the descent of landed estates meant that many knights’ fees came to be subdivided and, in the later Middle Ages, personal service was frequently commuted to money payments (=scutage).

liberate, writ of

A chancery writ issued to the treasurer and chamberlains of the Ex. authorizing them to make payment of a specified amount, often the annual fees, wages and rewards of the K.’s officers.

linch [Lat. lincia]

A measure of tin.


The delivery of seisin, or possession, of an estate hitherto held in the K.’s hand, for instance when a minor reaches the age of majority.


Legal term: the action of undertaking to stand surety (=‘mainpernor’) for another person; the action of making oneself legally responsible for the fulfilment of a contract or undertaking by another person (OED).

mass [Lat. messa]

A standard measure of metal.


A portion of land occupied, or intended to be occupied, as the site for a dwelling house; (also) a dwelling house together with outbuildings and the adjacent land assigned to its use (OED).

mort d’ancestor, assize of [Lat. assisa mortis antecessoris]

A legal process to recover land of which the plaintiff’s ancestor (father, mother, uncle, aunt, brother sister, nephew or niece) died seised (=in possession), possession of which was since taken by another person.

nolumus, clause of [Lat. cum clausula nolumus]

A standard clause inserted especially in letters of protection by which pleas and suits are delayed for a specified period of time.

novel disseisin, assize of [Lat. assisa nove disseisine]

A legal process to recover land from which the plaintiff claims to have been dispossessed (=disseised).

pensa See wey.
piece [L. pecia] A standard quantity of merchandise.
pendent seal Seal hanging from engrossed letters patent attached to a tongue or tag of parchment.
perpresture An illegal encroachment upon royal property.
plica A fold along the foot of engrossed letters patent and charters to create a double thickness of parchment, used for attaching the ‘great seal pendent’ to the letters. An incision was made in the plica and through which a tag of parchment was attached. A wax impression of a seal was then affixed to the tag.
protection An act of grace by the K., granted by chancery letters, by which the recipient is to be free from suits at law for a specified term; granted especially to persons crossing overseas or otherwise out of reach of the courts in the K.’s service.
quare impedit, writ of An action brought to recover the advowson of a benefice, brought by the patron against the bishop or other person hindering the presentation.
scutage The commutation of personal military service to the crown for a money payment. Normally called ‘royal service’ in Ireland.
seisin Formal legal possession of land.
sendal [Lat. cendallum; ME cendal] A thin rich silken material (OED).
stallage [Lat. stallagium, estallagium] Payment for a market stall.
tun [Latdolium] A large cask or barrel, esp. of wine.
valettus A term designating social status: translated ‘yeoman’.
Vidua Regis [Lat.] See King's widow.
volumus, clause of [Lat. cum clausula volumus] A standard clause inserted esp. in letters of protection by which pleas and suits are delayed for a specified period of time. In full the clause runs: volumus quod interim sit quietus de omnibus placitis et querelis (=we wish that meanwhile he be quit of all pleas and plaints).
waif A piece of property which is found ownerless and which, if unclaimed within a fixed period after due notice given, falls to the lord.
waivery [AN weiverie] The technical term for proceedings of outlawry in the case of women.
wey [Lat. pensa, peisa, pisa] A standard of dry-goods weight.
worsted [ME wyrstede] A woollen fabric or stuff made from well-twisted yarn spun of long-staple wool combed to lay the fibres parallel (OED).
writ [Lat. brevis] Letters close containing commands by the K. to certain specified persons, esp. royal officers. Returnable writs, which were not normally enrolled in the chancery rolls, were to be returned by the officer to chancery with details of the actions taken by the officer in response to the contents. See also allocate, certiorari, liberate.